Our society has made major steps towards gender equality within the past few decades, from the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 1840s to the US prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination in 2009. However, with Greta Gerwig recently becoming the fifth woman in history to be nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Director, further attention has been brought to the issue of inequality within the film industry.
While the rights of men and women may appear entirely equal on paper, the playing field remains alarmingly unlevel, as our nation’s long history with societal expectations and patriarchal systems has left a lack of opportunity for talented and deserving female creators in the modern day. Women continue to be tremendously underrepresented on screen, with an average of 2.3 male characters for every female in a given film, with this number remaining practically static throughout the past decade. Even more disturbing may be how women are represented in film, with significant controversy surrounding the issue being sparked following Jessica Chastain’s closing statements at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, as a vast majority of films represent women from what is known as the “male gaze”, or how men see the world and its inhabitants. As women make up only about 18% of directing, writing, producing, editing, and cinematography jobs within the film industry, an alarming lack of female representation behind the camera has led to an abundance of films and television shows being released that depict women as merely accessories to a male lead or characters whose actions are solely reactions to those of the men around them. As both girls and women around the globe often look towards the big-screen for empowerment, inspiration, or a role model, a more accurate depiction of females within films and television must be prioritized if a better example is to be set for the other half of the population.
There is no doubt that women are just as capable as men are when it comes to working in the film industry, and an increase of women behind the camera would surely produce a larger number of films told from the female perspective and provide more chances for females in the industry to make their mark. However, a number of factors have left a lack of opportunity for female filmmakers to become successful and have made well-known female filmmakers so rare, and deeply rooted sexism and stereotypes in the industry has proved great resistance for those looking to make their way in Hollywood. While it would be expected that women would be able to find their own way into Hollywood thanks to hard work and talent, this is not the reality females in film face. In response to the inequality presented in the film industry, a number of initiatives have sprouted to provide more opportunities to deserving female directors, screenwriters, and more, and the hope of these programs is to increase female influence within the industry to begin a cycle of diversity. Greater diversity within the industry would lead to the representation of more groups on screen, but females both on and off screen must first break down a long-time barrier that has left women underrepresented for decades. As the film industry must adjust to societal shifts concerning female representation in order to progress on a social level and address the needs of a wider audience, we must start to ask ourselves what more we could be doing to break down the barrier that is preventing a change. Greta Gerwig, an award winning actress, writer, and director, is an outstanding example of what women are capable of in the industry, and, if we are to see more talented women just like Gerwig getting the credit and opportunities that they deserve, the issue of inequality both on and behind the screen must be recognized and a greater effort must be put towards expanding the reach of opportunities to those who are well-deserving but ultimately ignored.
Founder and President of H2A
In this installment of the Taco Bout It series, Karly Low talks to and interviews our guest Lucas Nyhus, a high school senior living in Huntington Beach, California, over a hot meal from Wahoo's Fish Tacos. The two discuss the making of Lucas' band Those Pretty Boys, his passion for screenwriting, issues within our environment, and much more.
Grace Larey directed the music video for Faith Longo's song "Backwards" in preparation for the HB Academy of the Performing Arts' MMET Playlist 2018 show.
Every year, HB Academy of the Performing Arts' MMET program holds their famed Playlist show, which features student musicians and singers performing some of the most popular songs of the year and some original songs as well, working in collaboration with the MMET Media students who specialize in film and live TV Production. Both MMET Popular Music and MMET Media majors are able to combine their talents during this time as the annual shows provide the opportunity for music videos to be made for the original songs, all created and produced by the students.
Faith Longo, a senior in the MMET program, recently had her original song "Backwards" produced, getting it featured in the Playlist 2018 show along with an original music video directed by Grace Larey, a junior in MMET. I interviewed Faith about the creation of her song, the production of her music video, and her experience as a musician and writer.
Faith Longo: Vocalist and Guitarist
Caitlyn: How did your song “Backwards” evolve since its first chords to its final edit?
Faith: Like pretty much every song I write, “Backwards” was created because of a major event in my life. I always start with a feeling, and then try to emphasize it with the chords I use. Plus, I’ve always really loved poetry, so the lyrics for “Backwards” came mostly out of a small poem I wrote a few days prior. Unlike most of my songs, I tried to first create it on piano, which I think is why it took me over 5 months to really finalize it; it never really felt right. Around November I finally went back to it and tried again on guitar instead, and that’s when I really had that “yes!!! This feels right!!!” moment. I met up with Atreyu I think the very next day; he suggested the strumming pattern and helped add bass, which made the song sound a lot fuller. Honestly though, my favorite part of the whole process was probably making harmonies. I’m not the strongest instrumentally, so adding those harmonies was like adding my own little flare. After all that, Simmons got to mixing and added more electric guitar, drums, and percussion which helped make my song really come together. Everytime he sent me a new mix it was like opening up a Christmas gift. Not only that, but Simmons incorporated the super groovy reverb effects to give my song a ‘backwards’ effect (HAAaaaa). I’m so so grateful for Simmons, I don’t think my song would’ve had nearly as much impact if it wasn’t for all that he did.
C: Who was involved in the creation of your song?
F: Atreyu is usually the first person I go to to get critique on what I’m writing. He’s my best friend and so incredibly talented so I know I can always trust him. I had my good friend, Denise, record vocals on the song too since her voice blends so well with mine. Simmons did the most with my song though. He helped bring out and emphasize every feeling, and it was super cool collaborating and using the ideas that he had along the way.
C: What was your experience filming your music video like? What is it like to watch film and your song merge together?
F: Filming my music video was so cool! I loved collaborating with Grace, Drake, and Chase on new ideas. Not gonna lie, I have a low tolerance for cold already, so some scenes were pretty hard to shoot. I’d have to sing and try my best to seem calm and warm despite my teeth begging to chatter. But it was all so worth it once I saw the final product. It was incredible seeing everything come together so perfectly. I felt like the video really complimented the tone of the song, and it was able to visualize the message in a new way it would have never been able to just on its own. They even put in little details to highlight some of the lyrics! Overall, they all did such a great job on the video, and I feel like it fits so well with the song. I also really appreciate Drake for having the courage to get into freezing cold water with me, he’s a true homie.